May 31, 2023

Brighton Journal

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How to see the five planets aligned in the Monday night sky

If you want to try to see all five planets in the sky on Monday night, you’ll have to do a few things to increase your chances.

(Getty Images)

Exactly one month ago, I wrote about the beautiful close conjunction of Venus and Jupiter that I witnessed while crossing the Atlantic. It was really something to see.

The Internet has recently been buzzing about “five planets visible 2023” by more than five million Hits Google search for the topic! Online media picked up the story, Focus on viewing the sky on Monday.

Yes, there are five planets — Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Uranus — that currently align in the western sky. On Monday, Jupiter and Mercury will be “a finger’s width at arm’s length” (1 to 1.5 degrees) apart, the closest they are in the current sky view.

Jupiter will continue, in the following days, to move towards the horizon, while Mercury will rise in the sky. But they will be very Close to the horizon after sunset and no Easy to see.

Venus and Mars would be easy to spot visually while Uranus would be very dim and hard to see.

If you want to try to see all five planets, you’ll have to do a couple of things to increase your chances of doing so.

Binoculars, preferably with a wide field, will greatly increase your chances of seeing Jupiter, Mercury, and Uranus. Without it, your chances of seeing these three planets are slim. (Getty Images)

First and foremost, you need to choose a spot that has a clear view of the western horizon—one that has no buildings or trees and is flat, if possible. This is necessary because Mercury and Jupiter will be four degrees low above the horizon at 8 PM EST, which is when you should begin searching the skies for these two.

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Any obstructions to your view of the western horizon are likely to block your view of it. plan on Go to Shenandoah National Park In Virginia to maximize my opportunities.

Secondly, binoculars, preferably wide-field, will greatly increase your chances of seeing Jupiter, Mercury and Uranus. Without it, your chances of seeing these three planets are slim.

Use this sky chart, which shows the planets relative to Venus and try to find them in the sky. (Greg Redfern using Sky Safari Pro)

You can use Venus as a guide to find the general area of ​​lower Mercury-Jupiter at 8 PM EST, and higher Uranus later when the sky is dark. Locate the planet Venus in the sky, which will be easy to see visually due to its brightness. Then use a sky chart, like the one above, which shows the other three planets in relation to Venus, and try to find them in the sky.

Jupiter is much brighter than Mercury, and Uranus will have a green color that will distinguish it from any other star. As a bonus, Mercury will get a little easier to see in the next couple of weeks as it rises higher in the sky, so keep an eye out for the “Winged Messenger,” especially on April 14 at 8:30 PM EST, when it’s 10 degrees above the western horizon.

Mars will be over the moon and it will be hard to see. Use binoculars to look at the moon to see lunar craters and the dark maria, huge impact basins caused by asteroids and comets that filled with lunar lava billions of years ago.

As always, check the weather, but the forecast shows that it should be clear in our area, at least at the time of the show.

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Two weeks from today, I’m off to Australia for April’s hybrid total solar eclipse, visiting the country’s leading astronomical facilities and gorgeously photographing the dark night sky.

Follow my astronomy adventures on Twitter @employee and mine Daily blog To keep up with the latest news in astronomy and space exploration. You can email me at [email protected].